In the courtyard of the religious leaders, while they were looking for a way to have Jesus put to death, Peter, in fear for his life, three times denied knowing him. The scripture says in Matthew 26: 75 (NET) that when he realized he had fulfilled Jesus’ word, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times,” Peter went out and wept bitterly.
Previously, Peter had asserted that even if the others deserted Jesus, he would not—he would even die with Jesus. How Peter’s heart ached when he realized how far he missed his boastful mark.
We understand that pain, don’t we? We think we can tolerate, even love, a back-biting co-worker, but find ourselves gossiping about her. We imagine ourselves leading a new neighbor to the Lord, but can’t even stand seeing their back yard full of haphazardly stacked lumber. We want to love our spouse, but find ourselves quietly building a case against her.
We’re in trouble. We don’t realize how far we miss the mark. Jesus knows, however, and wants not only to expose, but to heal. After the ignobility of Peter’s heart was exposed, Jesus empowered him on the beach, after the resurrection, when he asked, “Do you love me?” “Do you love me?” Do you love me?”
Jesus, if you are exposing our sin, may we have eyes to see. If you are healing our hearts, may we find grace to receive.